It is my own personal opinion that split releases, especially those of the modern punk and indie varieties, generally involve two painfully similar sounding bands or artists, may or may not even share band mates, and rarely offer up any sort of real contrast, or even slightly varied styles.But, every once in a while two rather similar musical entities do find one another, they do the dance, and you end up with something totally worthy of flipping a hundred times.MJMJ Records (Twomichaeljordans) has recently done so, by bringing Messy Sparkles and Treehopping together.This brilliant looking/sounding split cassette is filled with delicate and brightly colored shapes and sounds.
  Messy Sparkles is a Texan named JD Paul (also co-owner of MJMJ), but by listening his full-bodied and quite tropical pop mastery, you'd think he was backed by at least a handful of talented musicians.He's quite the rhythm machine, laying down fairly intricate and textured beats, and building up a skyscraper of rich guitar and trickling synth melodies on top of them.Not so different from recent Animal Collective output, with the occasional steel drum swagger and deep vocal hymn, but with a scattered, yet charming diy/bedroom production.His voice is a bit juvenile and slightly off key, and after a few listens, I've realized that this wouldn't actually work any other way.His tunes are youthful and full of life, filling your speakers with nothing but good vibes at all times, and I can't get enough of this side.A very pleasant surprise indeed.
  Gainesville's Treehopping fills their side with a similar blend of shimmery island-pop, complete with dense, organic drums, and layers of fun guitar interplay.This kind of sounds like Surfer Blood's more tender and staggering moments, without all the power chords and verse/chorus/verse formula.You'll most likely hear a bit of Broken Social Scene's orchestrated guitar weaving, and tightly wound percussive bounce.There's a really nice syncopation going on between the spot-on drums and punchy bass, and they both keep things moving along at a solid pace, without being too overbearing.Fragile keyboard melodies are scattered all over the place, with a wide range of tasteful soft-synths floating throughout the songs.The vocals are for the most part sincere and tuneful shouts, with some well executed group harmonies and choruses.The recording quality is just right, and everything in it's place, without sounding "polished".These acts really complement each other in a big way, and I absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for some good vibes.